Acting governor Ralph DLG. Torres has issued marching orders to all government department heads to use all available resources as recovery efforts continue on Saipan.
Press secretary Ivan Blanco said an emergency meeting was convened by Torres on Sunday morning to give the instructions and provide updates to the department heads.
“This was a last-minute Cabinet meeting. The acting governor gave a list of action plans to the Cabinet heads,” Blanco said.
On top of the action plan for the departments is to use all available resources on a cleanup drive for the island.
Blanco said the departments have been instructed to prioritize Beach Road.
While cleared for traffic, Beach Road, one of the very few major thoroughfares on Saipan, is still littered with decaying debris.
Blanco said the cleanup is also for tourism and as a “psychological” boost to the community.
Beach Road was a green, tree-lined road that is often frequented by locals and tourists until Typhoon Soudelor hit Saipan and devastated the whole island.
It was a “working weekend” for most CNMI departments, according to Public Lands Secretary Pedro A. Tenorio.
Tenorio said the departments have been tapped for the recovery efforts. “We talked about organizing to make things move forward, and also talked about trying to clean up the island,” Tenorio said.
He added that “today [Sunday] is a work day for the Cabinet, which only affirms how urgent the situation is.”
Tenorio said some of the departments’ staff have been requested to coordinate with the CNMI Emergency Operations Center.
“What the acting governor asked is for everybody to cooperate,” he said.
Commerce Secretary Mark Rabauliman said the acting governor asked that “all able-bodied” staff help in the cleanup. He said some of the staff are also involved in the distribution of relief goods.
Labor Secretary Edith Deleon Guerrero said the department continues to work with a “skeleton crew.”
“We continue to work closely with the U.S. Department of Labor on unemployment assistance, and national emergency grants,” she said, adding that the department is “trying to operate the office, despite lack of water and power.”
She added that “everybody has a certain responsibility, and all of us are in this together.”